Óláfr svartaskáld Leggsson (Ólsv)
13th century; volume 3; ed. R. D. Fulk;
1. Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 2
2. Skúladrápa (Skúldr) - 1
3. Kristsdrápa (Kristdr) - 2
4. Love poem (Love) - 3
IV. 5. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1
It is possible that Óláfr (Ólsv) was a nephew of the poet Játgeirr Torfason (SnE 1848-87, III, 681; SkP II, 652). In Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 279) he is identified as a poet attached to the court of King Hákon Hákonarson (r. 1217-63; see SkP II, lxxxi-lxxxii). His nickname svartaskáld ‘Black Skald’ no doubt was employed to distinguish him from his contemporary at Hákon’s court, Óláfr hvítaskáld ‘White Skald’ Þórðarson (Ólhv; see SkP II, 656), and presumably it indicates that he had dark hair. He plays a role in a narrative in Sturlunga saga (ch. 228) set in the period 1230-1 (see Stu 1988, I, 329-30). According to that saga, he was a poor man who was in the company of Snorri Sturluson’s son, Jón murtr ‘Roach’, in Bergen in 1231. During a drunken brawl he dealt Jón an axe-blow that led to Jón’s death. Óláfr managed to escape the scene of the crime under the cover of darkness and he was not punished. He is not mentioned again in any literary source. The remains of his poetry are almost all fragmentary: these include what appear to be drápur dedicated to King Hákon (Hákdr), to Christ (Kristdr), and to the Norwegian Skúli jarl Bárðarson (1189-1240) (Skúldr), as well as a love poem (Love); the one complete work is a lone lausavísa.
Hákonardrápa (‘Drápa about Hákon’)
R. D. Fulk 2017, ‘ Óláfr svartaskáld Leggsson, Hákonardrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 311. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1329> (accessed 29 January 2022)
Skj: Óláfr Leggsson, svartaskáld: 1. En drape om kong Hakon (?) (AII, 84-85, BII, 96)
in texts: LaufE, SnE, SnEW
SkP info: III, 311
||Gjarn emk máls of, Mǫrnar, |
mæring, þanns blik særir.
|I am eager for talk of the noble man who wounds the gleam of Mǫrn <river> [GOLD]. |
||Hreinstólpa átt hjálpar, |
herrekkir, brag þekkja;
hátt sitið hans í réttu,
hvarmætr skǫrungr, sæti.
|War-promoter [WARRIOR], you ought to recognise the praise of the pure pillar of help [= S. Óláfr]; sit, leader, excellent in all respects, tall in his proper seat. |